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RVC establishes Municipal Planning Commission

Rocky View County council has established a Municipal Planning Commission, which will comprise all of council and have authority to make decisions on subdivision and development applications. File Photo/Rocky View Publishing

A newly-established Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) will have the authority to make decisions on subdivisions and development permit applications within Rocky View County (RVC).

“The intention behind the creation of an MPC is to ensure that all of council has a role in managing growth and development in the County,” said Municipal Clerk Charlotte Satink during a presentation to council at a regular meeting Nov. 26.

“Furthermore, it keeps council engaged and shifts some of the decision-making authority from administration to the MPC for subdivision development and applications.”

According to Satink, the commission will be guided by council-approved bylaws, policies and strategic priorities, and will be supported in its decision-making by the professional advice of staff, input from applicants and the interests of the community at large.

Administration recommends meetings commence once per month beginning in February 2020, then move to a bi-weekly basis after four months, she said.

Under the Municipal Government Act, Satink said, a bylaw establishing an MPC must provide procedures to be followed by the commission and prescribe its functions and duties.

The approved bylaw includes some flexibility on membership, she noted – its wording would allow all of council to be appointed to the commission, or for the appointments of members at large from the public. Council expressed a preference, for the time being, to make up the membership from its ranks.

“I think, because this is a new board, I do think all of council should sit on this board,” Coun. Jerry Gautreau said. “I think we need to get our feet wet and see how this board’s going to work. I would actually prefer all of council, right now, to sit on this board, understand this board and see how it’s going to operate before we jump into members at large.”

Questions persisted about which applications would come before MPC and which would be handled by administration. Matthew Wilson, manager of Planning and Development Services, characterized the process as “somewhat exploratory.”

“The intent is to leverage the MPC wherever possible, and where it becomes clear that perhaps the MPC does not have the interest or there doesn’t seem to be the value in using the skills and knowledge of the MPC of their relevant areas, perhaps those matters can then be dealt with by administration,” he said.

Reeve Greg Boehlke said he was of the understanding that permitted uses would be dealt with by administration, and the commission would look at discretionary uses. Council proceeded to unanimously amend the bylaw to have administration automatically handle applications for permitted uses, when there are no proposed variances.

Council then granted unanimous approval to three readings of the bylaw, first reading of amendments to the Land Use Bylaw and Subdivision Authority Bylaw – which include the MPC as development and subdivision authority – and directed administration to prepare amendments to the Board and Committee Remuneration Policy to include remuneration for the MPC.

While the bylaw did not require a statutory public hearing, Satink said, a hearing will be required for amendments to the Land Use Bylaw and the Subdivision Authority Bylaw. The public hearing will be scheduled for council’s Jan. 24, 2020 meeting.

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